Concerns over Kerry Groups thirteenth payment to farmers

Kerry Co-op is not set to pay its milk suppliers a thirteenth payment, according to ICMSA’s Dairy Committee Chairman, Gerald Quain.

Following a recent meeting with the Kerry Co-op board, Quain said that there is ‘huge and growing’ anger amongst Kerry suppliers around the fact that there is currently no proposal to make a thirteenth payment to farmers. a payment that suppliers believe to be fully justified given the milk price paid by Kerry relative to other processors during 2015.

“Kerry suppliers that have contacted ICMSA firmly believe that a thirteenth payment is fully justified given that Kerry have lagged behind other processors during 2015 in contradiction of their well-publicised commitment to paying the leading milk price on a ‘like-for-like’ basis and farmers are simply not going to accept a scenario where no additional payment will be made.

“Kerry suppliers signed up on the basis of that commitment to pay leading milk price and they now believe that this commitment is not being delivered upon.

“In the present context of falling milk prices and dairy farmer income wipe-out, this commitment is even more important for 2015 and 2016 than previous years”, said the ICMSA Dairy Chairperson.

A spokesperson for Kerry Co-op said any additional top-up payment will be discussed in the context of the co-op’s milk supply contract and said discussions are ongoing in relation to this matter.

Quain said it is absolutely essential that the Group’s position in relation to paying the leading milk price is reaffirmed as a matter of priority and that Kerry suppliers are clearly shown that the process works and that a thirteenth payment is made so that farmers can be satisfied that they are actually getting the leading milk price in the country.

“It is a question of whether the Kerry Group delivers on a solemn commitment or not, and suppliers will make – and are entitled to make – a judgement on the Group’s commitment to their suppliers and the wider sector on that basis”, he said.